Direct Payments To Tax Filers Included In $2.2 Trillion Bill

Recipients would include most taxpayers and retirees on Social Security, although amounts phase out as income rises above $75,000 or individuals and $150,000 for couples.

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With the nation's economy staggering, Congress is trying to shore it up with $2.2 trillion in cash and loan guarantees to big business, local and state governments and 150 million American households.

Everyone who filed taxes for 2018 or 2019 or received Social Security payments would receive some payment, as long as their incomes fell below $99,000 for individuals or $198,000 for joint filers.

The largest amounts -- $1,200 per person and $500 per child -- begin to decrease once incomes reach $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples filing jointly. Those eligible also include permanent legal residents who have filed tax returns.

If the Treasury Department has your bank information on file -- from either tax returns or Social Security records -- you can expect a direct deposit by mid-April, the administration is saying.

But if a mailing address is all the government has on file, checks may not be received for weeks after that.

While the Senate approved the bill 96-0, it still must be passed by the House, which is set to take up the measure Friday. President Trump has said he would sign it.

Other provisions include boosting unemployment payments by an additional $600 a week, something Wendi Walsh, head of South Florida's union for hospitality workers, said is desperately needed. She noted Florida's current maximum benefit of $275 a week is among the lowest in the country.

"At this point there is tremendous anxiety and also tremendous anger" among her members, many of whom are having difficulty filing unemployment claims through Florida's overwhelmed website, said Walsh, of the Unite Here Local 355.

Many hospitality workers are "barely making ends meet in the best of times, so there's absolutely no cushion whatsoever for workers to fall back on," she said during a teleconference Thursday with other labor leaders.

Also included in the bill is $130 billion for hospitals, which in some areas are beginning to become crowded with patients. The money would pay for testing and personal protective equipment, like gowns and masks.

Rene Sanchez, president of AFSCME Local 1363, which represents thousands of non-nursing employees in the Jackson healthcare system, said morale so far is good.

"Just like in any crisis like this, we're scared and we have the courage to come to work. We're fighting for our families and friends who may come with this disease, this virus," he said.

He said so far the hospital has been doing a fairly good job of providing protective gear, but, he added, "I also want to ring the alarm these things may run out and we have to have it for the crisis that's ahead."

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